Sunday, December 09, 2007

This post contain mature language.

Or immature language. I guess that depends where "fuck," "cocksucker," and "cunt" fall on your personal vernacular spectrum. Because if you're watching Deadwood, pretty much every other word out of someone's mouth is "fuck." I mean, honestly, I had no idea its uses were so varied and it's ability to modify other words was so impressive. And I swear like a sailor. And I was gobsmacked.

It's easy to start watching Deadwood and become disgusted. As noted previously, it's full of the foulest language, and also has violence that makes The Sopranos look tame. But here's the thing about it: it's actually a really complex and really ambitious television show. The language is peppered with more than just profanity, it contains metaphors and sayings straight out of the 1800s. So imagine watching a Shakespearean play where every thee and thou is a fuck and all the characters are really really dirty, not just in language, but in actual filth.

So what is Deadwood about, you ask? The show takes place in post-Civil War times. Deadwood is a town in the Nebraska territory that was on the brink. When the show starts, it's known as a place with no law and gold in the hills. So, naturally, it attracts people who like that kind of thing. After HUGE gold deposits are found, the feds and other legit folk start to get interested, so the town begins to grow and local saloon owners (a.k.a. mobsters) are forced to wrangle with politicians, businessmen, and form an actual town government. It's a snapshot of a particular time in American history, when hypocrisy was as prevalent as prospectors in the hills, and it was impossible to tell the good guys from the bad.

But, in all honesty, the best thing about this show is Ian McShane. As Deadwood's resident top badass, Al Swearegen, the owner of the Gem Saloon, Ian McShane owned the show. His character had a unique moral code (as one character put it, "when Al's not lying, he's the most honest man I know) and in the course of one episode could slit a throat, appointed the town's mayor, sheriff, and fire marshall, and delivered a stunning monologue while receiving a blowjob from a hooker. Did I mention that his bar also was a whorehouse? The fact that McShane only received a Golden Globe during the show's second season is criminal, in fact, the entire cast was Emmy worthy. Which I realize is not the benchmark it once was, but you know what I mean.

Very few things in life scare me. This guy does. Yikes!

The surprising thing about Deadwood is how cerebral the show is. I mean, you figure drinking, hookers, murder, sounds like a good time-killer. Not so much. This show is The West Wing in the Old West. You know how West Wing was the kind of show you had to actually watch and not wander around your house while it was on? Imagine that show with LOTS of profanity, political maneuvering you don't understand, and so many plot threads that you often have no idea what the hell is going on. But it's so good, so deftly handled, and the characters and actors are so damn charismatic, it's worth the effort to translate. Oh, yeah Timothy Olyphant is really hot. If that's what it takes to get you to watch it, I'll do it.


Monkey Sri said...

Wow, I'm kind of glad my parents don't read this blog. Also, quick question - was there a satisfying conclusion to the third season? I read in Wikipedia that there were to be two made-for-TV movies to wrap up the loose plot threads - did those get made? I just don't want to get invested if I'm going to be left hanging ...

Maggie Cats said...

There was no wrap-up of all the storyline if that's what you mean, but you weren't left on a cliffhanger. It had a satisfying season finale, just not necessarily series finale. Also the movies are not being made because HBO sucks.